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This study is about recovering money stolen by corrupt politicians and officials. Asset recovery is a key element in deterring and punishing the corrupt, and the reduction of corruption is critical to development. The money can be put to better uses once recovered, and it amounts to billions.
But there’s another reason why this is significant for those who are primarily focused on development: among the key issues in asset recovery are greater accountability and transparency, which are also increasingly regarded as key to long-term development success.
The main argument of this study is that corruption investigations and asset recovery are being tackled in new ways by new actors from the private sector, civil society, and media, and that this can help improve the prospects for justice. It would be too much to call this a revolution: it’s an evolutionary process. It needs long-term support if it is to prosper as a policy choice, and it raises some issues for policymakers and those who carry out the recoveries. But if the agenda for accountability is to advance at the same pace as transparency, the prosecution of the corrupt and the return of the money they stole is critical.